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Wednesday, December 16, 1998 Published at 14:22 GMT

Depressed Di Canio produces sicknote

Frame by frame: The Di Canio incident

Suspended striker Paulo Di Canio has gone missing from Sheffield Wednesday less than two weeks before he is due to return to action.

The troubled Italian was supposed to be back for training at Hillsborough last week after a brief trip to his homeland to help his family move back to South Yorkshire.

But the Wednesday secretary Graham Mackrell says the only contact they have had is a medical certificate from Di Canio's doctor in Italy stating that the player is not well enough to travel.

He claims to be suffering from stress and depression and, under FA rules, the doctor's note means the club cannot impose a third fine on the player for his non-appearance.

They have already penalised him twice for the incident in which he pushed referee Paul Alcock, and its aftermath.

Festive return in doubt

Di Canio was expected to return to Premiership action on Boxing Day after his 11-game ban for the indiscretion.

But Wednesday admit his continued absence means a serious doubt over his Christmas date against Leicester at Hillsborough.

Wednesday manager Danny Wilson said: "He is not back from Italy yet, and quite frankly I am not sure when he will be."

It is another frustrating episode for Wilson, despite his side's recent upturn in form.

One of the main influences behind the improvement, the club's other Italian Benito Carbone is himself suspended for the Boxing Day fixture.

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